Musings on Photography


Posted in process, shows, Uncategorized by Paul Butzi on February 12, 2007

Back when I was doing all my printing, I used what I’ll call the ‘West Coast’ style of print presentation.  Each print was:

  • flattened
  • trimmed to size
  • dry mounted to a sheet of four ply mat board/backing board.
  • signature and date affixed to the mount board, below the print near the right edge
  • then overmatted with a four ply mat that left a gap between the edge of the mat and the edge of the print.  Overmat is hinged to backing board with tyvek tape.
  • the whole shebang was then framed.

Now that I’m doing all my printing digitally, I’ve wandered away from this presentation. 

Instead, it works like this:

  • The print is mounted to a archival foam core backing board, using either ‘T’ hinges, or else adhesive corners stuck to the backing board into which the print is slipped.
  • A four play overmat is cut with a window that is smaller than the sheet of paper the print is on, which leaves a gap between the inside edge of the print and the edge of the image.  Overmat is hinged at top of backing board with tyvek tape.
  • the print itself is signed and dated, below the image and to the right.
  • The whole shebang is then framed.

With gelatin silver prints, you really need to take some serious measures to make sure the print is flat, and stays flat.  I have a couple of very nice 16″x20″ prints done by Linda Butler, and they’re held in place with corners.  Over the past few years, they’v slowly lost their flatness and the surface is now a distracting collection of waves and ripples.

But with inkjet prints, the prints start flat.  Ok, once I roll them up reversed to take the curve out of the paper, they’re dead flat.  And what’s more, they seem to STAY flat.  So hinging or corners work just fine.

But the best part is this: working from my notes, getting a print from raw print to framed took about 15-20 minutes longer when I was using the dry mount press to flatten the prints, then dry mounting.  Some of that time was spent with the dry mount press, but the process was considerably more fiddly, which is where most of the time seems to have gone.

Fifteen minutes per print doesn’t sound like a lot when you’re thinking one print.  When you’re thinking 20 prints for a small show, that 15 minutes per print adds up to an extra five hours. 

Five hours.  That’s a lot of time, really.  Maybe it’s time to sell that honking big dry mount press.

2 Responses

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  1. Billie said, on February 13, 2007 at 6:05 am

    Ah, another Linda Butler fan. I have a couple of her prints too.

  2. Mark said, on February 16, 2007 at 5:30 pm

    I just haven’t been able to give up my Seal press. I have had inkjet prints go wavy on me, so I forever remain nervous. I know if they are dry mounted, I can be 100% confident they won’t be.

    I can relate to the amount of time thoug, and the nervousness throughout the process!

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